Is Bartender Training That Important? I’ve Heard Lot’s Of Bartenders Don’t Have Much Or Any Training.

Veteran barman Ivan Chew makes a round of shooters.

Veteran barman Ivan Chew makes a round of shooters.

"You are your greatest asset. Put your time, effort and money into training, grooming, and encouraging your greatest asset."
Tom Hopkins - Americas #1 Sales Trainer

It’s true. Many people with bar jobs didn’t have any experience or formal bartending lessons at all. Some places hire & promote from within. Some places want to be fresh and open to their special way of doing things.

If you don’t have at least a foundation knowledge of bartending, you usually won’t get hired.
The more training/knowledge you have will increase your odds of getting a bar job quicker and succeeding at a much higher level.

Some people think any kind of training makes you look weak or not smart enough to learn on your own. It’s an ego thing. I think it’s just the opposite. The smartest & most successful people & teams in the world know that constant & continual learning & coaching from other people who have succeeded will bring you much more success and faster.

Having said that, it depends on who you ask and the attitude & confidence or OVER confidence that you take with you after whatever training you’ve done.

“I am Still Learning.” Michelangelo

Unfortunately, some bartenders who are fresh out of some kind of bartending school for mixology have an "I know it all now” kind of attitude.
Bar managers & other working & experienced bartenders don’t appreciate it and may not hire you because of it.

It’s not just annoying, it’s just not true. After you take any training course it’s a great start, or continuation of your learning, but you definitely still have A LOT to learn. We all do, no matter how many years we’ve been behind a bar.

I’ve always wanted to be the guy with the most knowledge I could. I just felt that the industry, and what people want, is always changing so I should always be looking for new things to learn from all sorts of people & ways.

I started my 25 year career at a basic 2 week bartending school. I’ve gone to seminars at trade shows, bought books, DVD’s, asked other bartenders etc. etc. Anything to give me an edge on how to be a bartender that attracts a regular crowd.

A great thing about bar jobs is that there is instant notification if you’re doing a good job or not. Reflected in how much tips you make.

Even if I can learn something that will make me $5 more in tips per night, that could end up being approx. $1,000 a year more ( depending on how many shifts you work ). Times that by a 10 year career behind the wood and you can see that a little bit of extra knowledge, can make a huge $10,000 difference over time.

I can tell you straight up that after 25 years in the hospitality industry... All the things i’ve done, people I’ve trained, I am definitely still learning.

What are your thoughts on this subject?

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